‘Twas the Night Before Christmas – 2014 (A Political & Social Year-in-Review)


Here we are again, watching another year passing as we enjoy the holidays with our family and friends.  And yes… usually, I post my annual year-in-review poem (read to “Twas the Night Before Christmas”) on the actual night before Christmas, but although I wrote it on December 24th… here I am posting it on January 18th.  And so I thought I’d better explain why…

(BTW, you can read this year’s ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas below, or click PLAY above or below and I’ll read to you.)

I guess the short answer is that I felt like I had no choice but to stop and take a break from writing my blog, Mandelman Matters.  It’s a difficult thing to explain, and I don’t want to sound overly dramatic, but the truth is that I felt it was a matter of life and death.  You never know for sure when it really is a matter of life and death… unless you actually die, and I wasn’t excited by the idea of putting it to the test.

The simple fact is that writing a blog is hard work… really hard work.  You don’t make much money, if any at all, and you end up working into the wee hours of the night to write, edit and post the articles and editorials you write.  You spend far too many hours each day sitting in a chair typing, talking and reading… and sitting will eventually kill you.  Your circulation suffers, your ankles and feet swell up like your Fred Flintstone, your knees can barely handle stairs or short walks… and you gain weight… lots of weight.

My entire adult life I weighed in somewhere between 180 and 240.  I was always This past December, I weighed in at over 300 pounds.  I didn’t even look like me and at 53 years old, as my doctor assured me, I wasn’t going to be long for this world if I didn’t make some changes fast.  “Do you know any 70 year-old people who weigh 300 pounds?”  He asked me in earnest.  “No,” I replied.

Well, that was enough for me.  I knew I had to stop and make some significant lifestyle changes, and as much as I didn’t want to abandon my readers without explanation, I was in no shape to say or do much of anything.  This past year was the hardest of the six years I’ve been writing Mandelman Matters and I had hit a wall.  It was time… I had to stop.

It wasn’t the first time I hit such a wall, but at over 300 pounds, it was a much bigger wall.  And the other truth is that I knew I couldn’t be helpful, useful or productive going forward in the condition I found myself early last December.

So, I stopped… stopped everything I was doing and slowly started bringing myself back to life.  First I slept for a week… and maybe it was even longer than that.  Then I bought a pair of hiking boots with an insole and started walking.  At first I couldn’t make it farther than maybe an eighth of a mile and afterward I’d need to sleep again.  I also got my old juicer out of the closet and started juicing every day.

Now I can make it 4.08 miles without sleeping for the rest of the day, and I’ve dropped my first 20 pounds.  I was wearing jeans with a 44″ waist… now I’m back into a 40″.  It’s not enough and it’s far from over, but I’m confident that I’m well on my way to recovery.  I plan to be wearing a 38″ waist by this March.

I should have told people what I was doing and I’m truly sorry that I didn’t do more to communicate with my readers, colleagues and friends about what was going on.  I can only say that I simply couldn’t do more than I did, and I’m certainly not going to let the same thing happen ever again.  I hope everyone will forgive my previously unexplained and abrupt absence.

So… I’m back to Mandelman Matters, I hope you see that as good news… and below is my annual ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas – A Political & Social Year-in-Review… and I hope you’re happy about that as well.

You can read it yourself or click play and I’ll read it to you.


‘Twas the Night Before Christmas – 2014

(A Political & Social Year-in-Review)


‘Twas the Night Before Christmas – 2014

And once again I would write, about where we’d all been.

Some caused my patience to wear thin, while my pants’ size did fatten,

So I wrote with a bucket, filled with a Manhattan.


The year began at the Fed, with confirmation of Yellen

Would she be just like Bernanke? The betch wasn’t tellin’.

Then Ariel Sharon died on January 11.

I‘m not sure what to say next. Do Jews believe in heaven?


Winter Olympics in Sochi, the Riviera for Russians.

Threw the international community deep into discussions.

Threats of terror abounded, but what had more people frightened,

Were Russia’s views on sexuality, which were far from enlightened.


The opening ceremony featured a high-tech light show.

But one of the five floating rings turned out a no-go.

Other than that it went well, I would say…

But I’ll bet the fifth ring would have lit, had the producer been gay.


New job numbers, once again, they came in quite short

While unemployment dropped anyway, if you believe the report.

And just in case you were thinking, that it’s all obfuscation,

It continues to be caused by record low participation.


As Q1 finally ended, a bill they called Dodd-Frank,

Had caused new mortgages numbers, to go straight in the tank.

Home prices softened, on both East and West coast,

Just as I had predicted, although I’m not one to boast.


Q2 was no better, compared year-over-year.

And the entire mortgage industry was close to in tears.

New loans, it was reported, fell by 70 percent,

It was simple. More people had no choice but to rent.


Then the UN again, tried to reason with Syrians.

Which is nothing like negotiating with white Presbyterians.

The opposition was described, as a tower made of terror.

The quintessential example, of terror trial and error.


Then we learned about Ebola, a deadly African virus.

It even caused mainstream media to reduce coverage of Miley Cyrus.

Next Malaysia Air Flight 370, just completely disappeared.

For a Boeing 777 to vanish was more than a little weird.


And a few months after that, more flying Air Malaysia,

Were blown out of the sky, another aero-euthanisa.

As to the source of the missile… Russia or the Ukraine?

Both governments denied it, in respective PR campaign.


And something brought my attention, to soccer’s World Cup.

It was like 10th grade geography, to see teams lineup.

I don’t really know why, I hadn’t watched it before.

It can’t just be because of the game’s well-known low scores.


This year was another for mid-term elections.

Another year to showcase, our elected imperfections.

Out here in California, against Brown ran Kashkari.

Brown would have still won, had he spent the year on safari.


I didn’t even bother voting, you can blame it on the rain.

But don’t give me that look, because I’m not going to complain.

The truth is, I was not alone. There were many more than just a few.

Voter turnout turned out lowest, since we were fighting World War II.


The outcome saw Republican wins that you could describe as “sweeping.”

Leaving President Obama, just a couple seats short of weeping.

I’m not sure why anyone thinks anything will have changed.

We look just as deadlocked, unless you’re completely deranged.


It was both painful and shocking, that grand juries failed to act.

After white cops shot unarmed black youths, it seemed the deck was surely stacked.

I don’t know what really happened, as I was not there in the room,

Outcomes so very tragic, deserve much more than to presume.


But the one thing I can say, without any hesitation.

Is that nothing good transpired, another stain upon this nation.

And for the grieving parents, whose loss must seem insane,

I pray what occurred will bring positive change, so their deaths were not in vain.


And throughout the rest of the year, we learned all about “Isis.”

They’re like a new & improved al-Qaeda, promising a new & improved crisis.

Israel was not happy, the Lord’s our shepherd, said the psalm,

And in case that doesn’t do the trick, they know they’ve got the bomb.


The NFL had a lousy year… Ray Rice punched his wife in the face.

And Peterson beat his four year-old, by any standard… a monumental disgrace.

But the league reacted strangely, making statements somewhat cannily.

Don’t they know that what’s okay on the field, is not okay with family?


This past year caused us to recall, that everything one day ends,

Joe Cocker recently left us. After living with a little help from his friends.

Pete Seeger and Joan Rivers… and Shirley Temple Black

Then Phillip Seymour Hoffman… another tragic addiction to smack.


And perhaps it’s Robin Williams, who I will miss most of all.

He made us laugh more than anyone, that offhand, I can recall.

His mind moved even faster than a race car full of torque.

From Good Morning when in Vietnam, to an alien come from Ork.


And for my parental peers and friends, who’ve now paid two years of tuition,

We’re all within striking distance, of undergraduate degree fruition.

We’ve watched our children blossom into brilliant young adults,

We can soon see the rewards of our efforts, as we take pride in their results.


The times they are a changing, our niece’s wedding is in Aruba,

And Obama has announced that we can finally visit Cuba.

Personally, I wish they’d lease Havana to the Mob,

So we’d have Vegas of the Caribbean, I don’t care if it’s an inside job.


Foreclosures continued I’m sad to say, reclaiming countless floorage.

It’s amazing we’re still largely inept, at fixing a troubled mortgage.

So why should it surprise us, that we torture those suspected,

When we torture so many here at home, with laws that are neglected.


Then while I sat here writing, there arose such a clatter,

It sounded like two cars crashing, so I went to see what was the matter.

And what to my wondering eyes did appear,

But a government car driven by shameless profiteers.


It had crashed into Santa, and St. Nick sure looked pissed.

And I watched as he erased several names from his list.

He spoke not a word, just continued his works,

Filling stockings before turning to the special interest jerks.


You guys are a real problem, and it’s no longer funny,

And it’s not just a matter of mishandling our money.

It’s our trust that you’ve lost, for it’s our trust you’ve abused.

And on this point, there should not be one among you that’s confused.


The race that you are on, is a race you cannot win,

People’s patience is waning, it’s already worn too thin.

Each year that you assure us that we’re all recovering,

But each year as we struggle, it’s your lies we’re discovering.


To your eventual peril, to treat things as routine,

For we’ll be voting again soon… in 2016.

And we’ll demand that our leaders, do more for the middle classes,

And those that just ignore us, will get tossed out on their asses.


Then Santa sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,



Ho, Ho, Ho!

Mandelman out.

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